Most of us can say we’ve experienced a sleepless night or two in our lives and remember the effects of it the following day. The headache, the lack of concentration, the increased awareness of even the most minor aches and pains, and just feeling emotionally drained. I think most of us can say we know how not getting a restful night’s sleep can just flat our ruin our day.
The sad truth is that in our fast-paced, stress filled lives; we’re experiencing these sleepless nights on a more frequent basis. We are constantly trying to keep our heads above water, so to speak. With work, kids, and social life, we run our bodies down. Which leads me to ask why we don’t focus on one of the most important keys to keeping us going; how to get a better night’s rest and enjoy our lives?
I don’t think we realize how much sleep plays a role in the proper functioning of our bodies. While sleeping, your brain is preparing itself to function properly. It’s forming new pathways to help you learn better and retain information. The health benefits of sleeping are tremendous: your blood cells and heart are repairing themselves, and hormones which are responsible for making you feel hungry or full are balancing out. Sleeping also affects how your body reacts to insulin along with how well your immune system functions; sleep deprivation can alter your immune system which is crucial in fighting against sickness and disease.
Not only does sleeping have tremendous benefits, but the lack of it has serious health ramifications. Lack of sleep can lead to diabetes, heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure and risk of stroke. Sleep deprivation can be deadly when it comes to driving; the ability to drive while sleep-deprived is estimated to be almost the same as driving drunk.
So what can we do to sleep better at night? More importantly, how do we get the deep sleep which we benefit most from? Studies show that your body temperature naturally cools down when you fall asleep; this process helps you go into a deep sleep, which is the most beneficial type of sleep. One way to help this process is to raise your body temperature before you go to bed to ease into this process. Relaxing for about 15-20 minutes in a spa about an hour before bed can ensure your body temperature is elevated and the process of cooling down takes place easing your body into the deep sleep it desperately needs.
But it doesn’t stop there! The hydrotherapy from a spa promotes relaxation and eases tension in joints and muscles, reducing the chances that these aches and pains will keep you awake at night. Using a spa promotes the release of endorphins which naturally block stress and pain signals from going to the brain as well, again preparing the best odds for your body to be at ease to fall into a deep sleep. Using a spa regularly before bedtime clearly increases your chances of a better night’s rest, which leads to a better, healthier, more productive lifestyle.Continue Reading
A relaxing evening in the spa can be the best part of any day. It offers its user a sanctuary from the trials and worries of the office or a hard day’s work. The worst aspect of that relaxing period could be that you may be paying more than you should for those precious, peaceful moments. Heat loss and inefficiency in spas can be a drain on your electricity. On average, a spa costs over $360.00 annually to heat. Reducing heat loss is one way to lower energy usage and ultimately the costs of owning a spa.
If you’re in the market for a new spa, read on as we will discuss some of the features to look for. If you already have an energy hoarding unit that you’re not ready to part with, there’s a few tips we’ve addressed here for you as well.
New Features on Spas
To make owning a spa more affordable, manufacturers have come up with innovative ways to upgrade equipment and improve features on their tubs without aggressively affecting your pocket book. When shopping for a spa, ask your dealer about the energy efficiency of the unit. Here’s what to look for:
- Spa Covers — Insulated spa covers keep most of the heat inside the spa. Make sure your cover is equipped with straps that lock the cover down to the unit. Not only will you improve the safety aspect of your spa, but a tightly sealed cover greatly reduces heat loss from around the edges. Check to make sure your spa’s cover will be tapered or sloped; creating a run off for any excess rain water that may build up on the cover. As spa covers age, you may notice the weight of the cover increasing as the foam inside becomes saturated with moisture. Once this happens, replace the cover immediately as a water logged cover will have lost most of it’s insulating qualities.
- Insulation — At minimum, the shell and plumbing of the spa should have a generous amount of insulation. Even though most heat is lost from the top, well-insulated interiors reduce heat loss from below. If you live in an area that experiences extremely low temperatures or snow conditions, ask about a “full foam” option. This encapsulates the entire underbelly of the spa with solid foam for optimum insulation.
- Pumps — Energy-efficient pumps are becoming more common in spas. Make sure that your spa has at least one 2 speed pump for filtration. Most spas are pre-programmed to filter twice a day for two hours a day. Rather than going full bore for those 4 hours, running the filtration pump on low speed will greatly reduce the amount of electricity used.
- Heaters — Modern heaters utilize improved heat transfer with less waste. An undersized heater will require your spa to run longer and draw more energy. If you are into the technical jargon, as a good rule of thumb you should have a 1.5 kilowatt heater in a 110 volt unit and a 5.5 kilowatt heater in a 220 volt unit.
- Go Green – Not literally! “Going green” is not the fondest term in the pool and spa industry as it is sometimes associated with poor water chemistry. When discussing energy usage, “going green” means decreasing consumption of electricity and ultimately lowering your carbon footprint. Some spa manufactures specialize in just this. Ask your dealer to see their most energy efficient models. These units most often do not feature large jet quantities or the latest iPod stereo, but they certainly create a relaxing oasis on low energy usage.
Making an Existing Spa More Efficient
There are a few things you can do to improve your current spa. Some are common sense, others may not have occurred to you. Just a few steps can help you reduce the cost of operating your current spa:
- You should never locate a spa on an open deck. If you have one on a deck, the open air beneath robs the heat from your spa. Underpin the deck with insulation board and siding if possible. This will help keep the temperature beneath the deck much warmer and prevent breezes from chilling your spa from below.
- Lower the temperature of your thermostat when not in use. Keep your spa at 80 – 90 degrees and turn it up an hour or so before using. This will save energy over keeping it at a higher temperature all the time.
- Use shrubs, privacy panels or fencing around the spa area as windbreaks to retain the spa heat better.
- If your spa is equipped with them, make sure your air venturi valves are closed when the spa is not in use. An air venturi valve blends air from outside your spa with the water in the jets. Pumping cold ambient air inside the spa will drastically lower the temperature and cause it to constantly run trying to maintain its heat.
- Turn the thermostat very low or off when on vacation.
You’ll get more spa for the money by following these few tips. Keeping operating costs down will increase your enjoyment, knowing your spa is costing you pennies per day instead of dollars.Continue Reading
Portable spas are extremely popular because of their versatility, portability, and affordability. Their interior design makes them the most comfortable to sit in, and their price is within range of virtually any family or individual desiring the benefits of a warm, relaxing spa and hydrotherapy massage. Because of their wide range of amenities, portable spas are most often more desirable than permanent spas.
Portable spas are above ground and can be used inside the home or out. As long as the spa can be located on a flat surface, it can be used on an inside floor, a deck or concrete area. Besides the lower pricing on portable spas, this is a feature that many consumers like.
Here are a few things to consider when shopping for a portable spa:
- Your choice — Box stores and home improvement depots that carry portable spas typically offer one or two styles in stock but most models would have to be ordered online. Buying a spa online without actually sitting in it first is like buying a new car without test driving it. You want to sit in the model you plan to purchase to make sure you are comfortable in it. (All Secard Pools locations have an array of empty and running models to “test drive” and choose from.) Viewing a running model also allows you to see the performance of the jets and filtration system. Your purchase decision will last for many years. Your new spa should have all the options you need and want to give you the best service and satisfaction.
- Wiring — Portable spas run on either 110 or 220 volt electrical. You should decide on which type you prefer before making your purchase. 110 volt models are extremely easy to hook up and plug in to a standard household outlet just as a blow dryer would. Survey the area in which you plan on placing the spa and make sure there is an outlet near by prior to your purchase. Most 110 volt spas are outfitted with a 12 ft. cord. 220 volt models will require a licensed electrician but typically will heat faster and come equipped with larger pumps.
- Insulation — When using your spa, you want to ensure the water temperature is easily maintained. Closed cell foam insulation should be used by the manufacture to prevent heat loss from the spa shell and hold the water temperature at a steady setting.
- Cabinetry – Spa cabinets have come a long way over the years. Beware of any spa that is built with an outside cabinetry that is not synthetic. Wood and water do not mix and a soggy warped cabinet is the first thing to deteriorate on a spa. Additionally, the framing within the spa should be a pressure treated material.
- Components — Check for the number of jets and their placement. If the jets are not positioned to have therapeutic value, the number of jets won’t matter. Many manufacturers think that by putting more jets in a spa it is more effective. Actually it’s quite the opposite. You want pressure in areas that need pressure and not waist it in areas that don’t. The control panel and filtration equipment should be in an easy-to-reach position. You don’t want to have to climb under the spa cabinet every time you need turn the heater on or clean the filter.
- Size — The bigger the spa, obviously the more room. If you’re the outgoing type, get one that seats your family along with other family members or neighbors. If you are simply looking for yours and a spouse or partner’s comfort, one that seats only two or three is your best bet.
- Comfort — The ergonomics of a spa are extremely important. Check out the contour of the interior to ensure your comfort. Does the seating feel comfortable? Is there a headrest area that fits properly. Is a pillow easily attachable? Never forget that its purpose is comfort and relaxation.
Whenever possible, here at Secard Pools, we always promote and support purchasing American made products. With American made spas, If there are problems, parts are much easier to find and less expensive. Also, make sure you understand what the warranty covers. Buying from a local dealer will ensure the warranty is enforced and there’s always an expert to answer your questions as you begin using your new spa.
Photo taken at our Orange, Ca. Secard Pools & Spas showroomContinue Reading
So you’re ready to reward yourself with a little slice of luxury. You want that portable spa or pool that you and the family have been eyeing for a long time. The big box stores and membership wharehouses have it on sale, now is the time to strike. They have the purchasing power and now have it down to where it’s easily within reach. Before you pack up and make the trip down to their huge facility, slow down and look at what you may — or may not — be getting for your investment.
Who’s The Expert?
- When you go to select your model, you’re sure to have some questions. A big box store often has revolving door issues with various departments. If Don or Donna is employed in that particular department, just how much do they know about the product you are about to invest your hard-earned money into?
- With the box store, you may have spoken to one person on Tuesday who gave you information. On Friday, they’re off and you’re speaking with someone else. Realistically, neither Don nor Donna may be there and your salesperson has been pulled from the curtain and blinds or paint department to help you with your purchase. Even on a good day, how much training has the salesperson had. How long have they worked in that department?
- When it’s delivered, you want it as near as possible to the area where it will be permanently located. The box stores have a clear delivery policy. You can choose from curbside delivery or delivery at curbside. From there, you’re on your own.
- Was the warranty information explained thoroughly? Is there a warranty after it’s delivered? If the merchandise is flawed, the box stores do not have service technicians to come to your home.
- Who installs your prized possession? If it becomes damaged during installation, what recourse do you have? Who takes ownership of the problem? You?
- Big box stores thrive and survive on sales. Secard Pools thrives on customer relationships. When you’re a customer instead of a sale, the experience can change — dramatically.
- Pricing from your local big box store can sometimes be a misconceived value. While you may be able to save on cereal or saw blades, portable pools and spas are not their forte. Not only are the products from Secard Pools far more superior, you may be surprised to know that they cannot beat our prices.
- You can expect your salesperson at the local Secard Pools to be knowledgeable. This is what they do; this is their area of expertise. They don’t sell paint, blinds or storm doors. Their training is from the factory and years of experience. They are proud of their product and they want you to know all about it.
- With proper access, delivery is made to your specifications. Your spa or pool comes to your home and is placed where you want it. A home visit for a problem is simply a call away.
- Secard Pools can easily provide installation. We know the proper installation methods and, should there be a problem, it becomes our problem, not yours.
- At Secard Pools, we explain and support all aspects of warranties that apply. Your protection extends past the sale. Secard Pools takes ownership of our product and your satisfaction.
- Any water chemistry issues can be handled by your local Secard Pools retail location. Bring a water sample to us for free analysis and a quick resolution of your problem. The box store is not equipped to handle such issues.
Would you rather be a customer or a sale? At Secard Pools, a customer is a long-term agreement between us and you. A sale is a short-term relationship and something big box stores thrive on. Once you’re gone, their only concern is the next sale.
Photo credit Patrick HoeslyContinue Reading